Category: Gaming News

The PS4 Is a “Supercomputer” According to Japanese Regulations, Xbox One is Just Under the Threshold

The announcement of the new MacPro, capable of providing between 2.2 and 3.5 teraflops  in computational performance is making headlines in Japan because, due to the local regulations, it goes beyond the officially established threshold for a “supercomputer”.

In Japan every computer with a computational performance over 1.5 teraflops is considered a “supercomputer” and goes under special regulations for procurement (purchase, rental and lease) by institutions and similar entities. You can check the full set of regulations here. It’s worth mentioning that the document identifies 300 megaflops as the threshold, but that’s because it was initially drawn in 1990. The limit has been raised several times since, up to 1.5 teraflops in 2005.

Guess what’s another machine that goes well over the 1.5 teraflops threshold? The PS4, with its GPU capable of providing 1.84 teraflops. On the other hand the Xbox One is just under that threshold, reaching 1.33 teraflops under its glossy black hood.

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The NASA supercomputer

While Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Honcho Phil Harrison thinks that teraflops don’t matter, the Japanese embassy seems to care enough to send an official letter to the US government to communicate the revision of the threshold to 1.5 teraflops.

If the regulations mentioned above were to be applied to the PS4, there could be a measure of hindrances in the purchase of the console by Japanese institutions like research institutes and schools. While this isn’t exactly what I’d consider a big deal, the acquisition and usage of gaming consoles by this kind of institutes is definitely not unprecedented.

That said, the Japanese government can unilaterally revise the threshold “as necessary,” and considering that a simple home console dedicated to games now falls beyond it, it’s most likely that said a revision will come soon.

Looks like Lead Architect Mark Cerny wasn’t joking when he defined the PS4 a “Supercharged PC…”

Prima Games relaunching website, preparing for next-gen

With support of parent company Penguin Random House, Prima is making a much bigger push into digital with its strategy guides business.

Prima Games, the leading source of video game strategy guides, is relaunching its website this Friday as part of a broader initiative to step up its digital presence. It marks the first major games-related release since the merger of Random House and Penguin over the summer, and it’s clearly a positive sign that old media like Random House appreciates the growing importance of digital.

“We’ve always had great support from our parent company Random House and that support continues with the new merger. In fact, one of the best things about being able to do this kind of relaunch is that they recognize our need to react and adjust in the ever-growing digital landscape,” said Fernando Bueno (pictured), head of digital and editor-in-chief of Prima Games. “For Prima Games specifically, it’s of prime importance to refine our user experience since we’re a 2nd-screen experience by design. Even our books can be seen as a second-screen experience, if you really think about it.”

Following a big influx of mobile users over the last year to Prima’s site, the new website has been redesigned with the help of Gamer Network, which also publishesGamesIndustry International. ”They’ve been hard at work with us, redesigning the site from the ground up so that it’s now mobile-ready. In the process we’ve also rebuilt our eGuide platform (also incorporating responsive design). The eGuides, launching with the new site, will be a truly premium experience – whether on tablet, desktop, phone, or a next-gen console like the Xbox One,” Bueno said.

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Random House CEO Markus Dohle (right). the parent company of Prima Games.

Being able to launch a Prima strategy guide straight from the Xbox One or PS4 dashboard seems like a no-brainer. Gamers can look something up and gos right back into the game without leaving the console. “The Gamer Network team has been huge in making this kind of experience possible. We can’t be more excited. Gamers are constantly looking for an advantage or the latest tips on how to get the most from their games. More often than not, they have to step away from their gaming experience to get answers as they run to their desktop. By making all of PrimaGames.com responsive even on console browsers, we’re making sure that gamers on the next-gen (including PS4) won’t have to entirely disrupt their gaming session to get answers. We’ll be there the moment they have questions,” Bueno stressed.

Between the improved website and eGuides, digital is going to be a much larger component of the Prima business for Random House going forward. Prima intends to make a larger push into iBooks as well, as every print product has an iBook counterpart.

“Customers have actually responded very well to the eGuide platform. We’ve been very pleased. That’s why it was very important for us to continue to evolve that experience with the new eGuide we’re launching (Lego Marvel will be the first, with follow-ups from Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV). Also, including them with the purchase of the print product allows us to address the limitations of a static print medium while also increasing the amount of content we can provide to the consumers,” Bueno explained.

“We can update stats from the print product, deliver video, which we obviously can’t do with print, and address all sorts of other needs like DLC follow-ups. I think our licensing partners are also pleased that we can continue to support their titles well beyond launch, and all through the DLC life-cycle of their products,” he continued. “We’ll also continue to sell the eGuides as stand-alone products, of course, since users will always have a need for official day and date strategy for the latest releases. We anticipate the growth of the digital guide business to also allow us to do more digital-only guides, so titles that may not be viable in print format can also have official content at the time of release. And, of course, our teams will continue to create free strategy, tips, and walkthrough content for titles that may not get an official eGuide product. Bottom line, we want to make sure that gamers are getting the most out of their games. That’s what we do.”

And while digital is taking over most media, that doesn’t mean print is about to go extinct. On the contrary, Bueno insists that Prima’s printed publications will continue to be collector’s items for hardcore fans.

“We’re very hard at work at creating some of the best print guides we’ve made in years. I think that one of the things our customers have come to expect from Prima is that we’ll continue to create beautiful, highly collectible hardcover books like our Ni No Kuni guide earlier this year. I think that’s a fantastic example of how we’re integrating all aspects of our business and not carving anything up,” he said. “We don’t see our business as print books, apps, and the website -  we see it as one unified user experience where a customer can buy a print product and count on the digital experience to get them through every boss battle.”

Sony: “We Will Not Rest Until the PS4 Is Affordable for Every Gamer in Brazil”

We all know by now that the PS4 in Brazil is going to be mindbogglingly costly (the local equivalent of $1,884), but at the press conference currently going on at the Brazil Game Show in São Paulo Sony Computer Entertainment promised that things will change.

At the very beginning of the conference Sony Computer Entertainment Latin America General Manager Mark Stanley walked on stage and immediately admitted that the price of the PS4 in the country is a problem. He then mentioned that PlayStation always delivered on its promises in Brazil, including the reduction of the price of games and of the PS3. He finally concluded by promising that the company will not rest until the price of the PS4 is reduced to a more affordable level.

We will not rest until the PS4 is affordable for every gamer in Brazil.

Of course we don’t know when that will happen, or what “affordable” means, but if you live in Brazil, now you know that there’s hope.

PS4 GPU Encourages Complex Compute Operations, Choice of Memory Keeps It From Becoming Obsolete: Final Horizon Dev

Final Horizon is an extraterrestrial real time strategy game under development at Eiconic Games. The game is being developed for the PlayStation Vita and Sony’s next generation console, the PlayStation 4. We recently had an opportunity to have a chat with David Pollard who is the director and programmer at the company to ask him about their experience working with the PlayStation 4 and what they liked about it.

Much is being made out of the 8GB GDDR5 RAM memory on the PlayStation 4. As technology advances, we asked whether this little choice by Sony will make sure that the PS4 will not become obsolete in the next few years, to which he replied:

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Venom Wasp from Final Horizon

There’s a few interesting things about the PS4 that should keep it from becoming obsolete too soon, as well as the choice of memory. For example, the way the GPU is set up to encourage it’s use not only in the traditional way of drawing stuff on the screen, but also as a resource to do complex calculations, means that much like the PS3 before it, it will be a while before engine coders will work out how to really push its capabilities.

We also asked him whether they are going to use the much praised touch pad functionality of the DualShock 4 and he confirmed to us that this is something that they are currently looking into.

“We still need to prototype a few ideas, one of which is to see what it’s like using the touchpad to control a mouse-like pointer for selecting towers, etc. It’s quite nice on the Vita being able to use the touch screen to tap select things. One of the things we’re doing is giving the player a few different ways to control the game to suit different play styles,” he added.

Final Horizon was one of the many indie games announced at this year’s GamesCom. Stay tuned for more news and updates for all things Final Horizon.

Shuhei Yoshida Gives More Info on The Last Guardian, Blames Jack Tretton for Misleading Everyone

A couple weeks ago Shuhei Yoshida told Famitsu that the mysteriously disappeared PS3 title by Team Ico The Last Guardian is still in development, and today he gave more info on what’s up with the game in an interview on GamesIndustry International.

When asked if the game was still being developed in the building where the interview was taking place he confirmed:

Yeah, in this building!

He was also asked what console the game will be released on, but the response was rather obvious:

Ahh… That, I cannot talk about.

The interviewer argued that it wouldn’t make much sense to release the game on PS3 this late in the console’s lifetime, and said that the developers have PS4 DevKits in their offices because he heard them talking about it. Yoshida-san explained:

So, we’re waiting for the right time to re-introduce The Last Guardian in an appropriate way. I can’t… Well, the game is in development, and it’s well staffed, and Ueda-san is here, working – even though he’s not a Sony employee, he’s dedicated to the product. But we’re not ready to update yet.

Finally, Yoshida-san was asked if the “hiatus” the game’s development was allegedly put on is now finally over.

Hiatus, I never… It was Jack Tretton! He used that term, and I said no, hiatus is misleading. It was a hiatus in terms of releasing new information. The game has never stopped – the team has always been here. They’re going through the re-engineering of the game, so the team size is smaller, because it’s more engineering focused right now.

“Re-engineering” to me definitely sounds like moving the game to the PS4, but of course we have no way to know that for sure. We’ll have to wait and see. In the meanwhile we can all be relieved by the fact that game is still worked on by Fumito Ueda himself.

Battlefield 4 beta now available to download on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3

The call to rush to the online warzones of Battlefield 4 has rung out across the Land of the Internet, but will you answer that call? Will you fulfil your destiny and spawn multiple times on Siege of Shanghai in a mission of Conquest and Domination?

More importantly, do you qualify for the (at first) limited Battlefield 4 online beta test? You’ll need to be a Battlefield 4 Premium member, or have pre-ordered Battlefield 4 Digital Deluxe Edition, or be a registered owner of Medal of Honor Warfighter Limited Edition or Digital Deluxe Edition.

If you qualify, the following tweet from the official Battlefield Twitter account applies to you:

If you’re not yet seeing the beta for download, take a look at the roll-out time schedule below to see when it may unlock in your region, both for the exclusive beta today and Friday’s open beta:

Exclusive Beta Rollout Times (October 1st):

- PC: Live now!
- Xbox 360 world-wide: 2-6 AM PDT
- PlayStation 3 (Europe): 7-11 AM PDT
- PlayStation 3 (US): 3-7 PM PDT

Open Beta Rollout Times (October 4th):

- PC: 1 AM PDT/9 AM UTC
- Xbox 360 world-wide: 2-6 AM PDT
- PlayStation 3 (Europe): 7-11 AM PDT
- PlayStation 3 (US): 11 AM PDT

Note: DICE warns that “release times for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are controlled by Microsoft and Sony, respectively. The beta will be available within the range or times above, per console.”

GTA Online New Details: Choose Your Grandparents, Robbing Stores, Reputation, Passive Mode and More

A Reddit user, in charge of TheGTAPlace.com, hosted an AMA to answer questions about Grand Theft Auto Online after travelling to New York at the behest of Rockstar Games.

Playing on the Xbox 360, it was stated that there were no performance issues, with no lag though that could be different based on players playing across the world instead of in the same room. Bugs were also limited, with one particular instance involving cops killing another player on the same server first before setting their sights on you. Whether this was lag or a glitch wasn’t clear, but given that this was an early build from 1 to 2 months ago, there’s a chance that such bugs would be eliminated.

Almost all clothes shops and tattoo parlours were unlocked from the start. You can also choose the appearance of your four grandparents, which will influence your character’s look. You can customize your skin colour, hairstyle, age and other stats though. You can make a new character but it’s not certain if you can change this generated character. It’s not certain if you can create multiple characters for GTA Online.GTA-Online

You’ll need to reach about rank 8 or 9 to buy properties but there are plenty of houses and apartments to buy across the map. When you start the game, you’ll have missions such as Deathmatch and Races in which you can bet on the winner and earn money. You can also get texts from different characters for extra jobs to earn more money. Many weapons aren’t unlocked from the start, irrespective of how much money you have, so you’ll need to upgrade your rank by completing missions to unlock them.

As far as properties went, one small house was about $20000. You can rob stores and pick up roughly $3000-$6000 each time, but there will be enough balancing to ensure that it’s not abused. How it works is that you can point a gun at the store clerk and they’ll give you money in a carrier bag till the cash register is empty. You can shout into a headset to get them to give you money, which will cause the cash to be emptied quicker. Some store owners have pistols though, so be careful when entering and leaving lest you get shot.

You’ll start off in the single-player campaign in which you can switch to multiplayer from the character menu. The process has been described as quick enough to not be frustrating.

There is also something called Passive Mode, in which players cannot be killed and will have a line through their radar icons. You can’t quite switch while on a mission, and you may need to enter free roam for it. A reputation system is also in place to ensure you don’t drop out of matches for whatever reason. Passive Mode can be entered for a price, which would be about $100 or $500.

You can also take car insurance. Simply give the contact a call and you can make a claim on the car. This won’t net a huge amount of money, but it is a good way to get your car replaced.

Missions were stated to need at least two players, though some could have as many as eight taking part and they’re adequately team-based. For example: One team will be protecting an objective while the other team is focused on eliminating it. You’ll essentially see the same kinds of missions as present in single-player but with the ability to play with friends. Rockstar Games still stuck by their 500 missions number.

Interestingly, the Social Club was experiencing network issues during the event which prevented mission/job data from being downloaed. If that was a problem, think about how it will be once millions of people access GTA Online tomorrow. You can still play with friends and access the world, but you’ll probably be prevented from accessing the latest available missions.

Grand Theft Auto Online has shipped with Grand Theft Auto 5 and will be launching tomorrow for Xbox 360 and PS3.

Grand Theft Auto V’s Trevor Had Trouble Playing His Own Game

In an interview with GQ, the voice actors behind Michael, Trevor, and Franklin reflected on the epic scale and worldwide impact Grand Theft Auto V has had, but not without revealing a little difficulty in getting the game to work.

When asked about playing Grand Theft Auto V as themselves, Shawn Fonteno (who plays Franklin in the game) admitted that he’s lived on both sides of the law and remarked that he feels “like changing [his] name to Franklin”, but it was Steven Ogg, voice and visage of Trevor that revealed he got a little frustrated even starting GTA V up.

Like many gamers out there, the man behind Trevor Phillips got a little frustrated by the lengthy installation Grand Theft Auto V requires before play can begin on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. GQ interviewer Scott Neumyer even notes that Ogg “slips into full on Trevor mode” at this point in the interview:

Okay, we’ve got 2.7 gigabytes, gigabang, gigawhatever. What the fuck is this?! Okay there’s two discs. Put this one in first. Okay. What the fuck? Where to load it? I don’t know. Load it onto here. Manage storage. Fuck! I just want to see the opening. I’m going to cover his face and ears if it starts with Trevor jumping on a skull screaming, “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”—he’s not going to hear that…but he’s so excited, he just wants to see the opening (or anything). So I pick up the Bat phone and I call Rod [Edge - the director]. We FaceTime so he can help me figure this out. It was such a great scene. I’m in the country house with my son and we’re FaceTime-ing with the director of the game and his son, who’s an actual gamer, and we’re getting instruction on how to start the game. I’d show him the screen and he’d walk me through it. It was such a beautiful moment.

In the rest of the interview, Luke, Fonteno, and Ogg (Michael, Franklin, and Trevor respectively) relate how the game has changed their lives and what work they hope to do following the massive record breaking release of Grand Theft Auto V.

Japanese Retailer Selling Old 3G/Wi-Fi PS Vita for Less Than 50 bucks For a (Very) Limited Time

While Sony plans to sell the old 3G/Wi-Fi PCH-1000 PS Vita at least for a while longer on the side of the new PCH-2000, it seems that at least one retailer in Japan is working on selling some old inventory.

The Japanese tech retailer Joshin is having a special sale on the e-commerce website Rakuten, and that’s a rather juicy one, offering the OLED equipped older model of the Vita for 4,595 yen delivery included. That’s the equivalent of just under $47.

The catch is that the sale is available only in Japan (the English version of Rakuten doesn’t list it), and only 30 units will be on sale, exactly for 59 minutes starting tomorrow morning at 9 AM Japan Time.

If you live in Japan and still don’t have a Vita, it’s surely worth a shot. Mind you, it may not be easy, because those 30 units are probably going to be sold out in mere seconds.

You can check a screencap of the sale just below, for the posterity.

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Xbox One Less Powerful then Even Micrsoft Thought – Ryse ran on PC at E3

The visual capability of Xbox One has been going completely downhill in the last couple of months, at least Forza is still 1080p/60fps (for now). So what does it mean? How could Xbox One demo Ryse with a 150k tri count at E3 (1080p/60) with stable Frame Rates and now suddenly have problems with an 85k tri character at 900p? The answer is simple. Ryse never ran on the Xbox One. Ryse ran on PCs and undoubtedly Microsoft thought they could replicate the performance on the Xbox One. Too bad they couldn’t because if you demo something on a gaming rig powered by GTX 780s and claim that its running on a console you better be damn sure because the truth will eventually come out.

But the question remains, why did they do it? Microsoft aren’t complete idiots, they must have been damn sure they could replicate the performance if they risked demoing it on PC. If they could not achieve something they were so sure of, it sets of alarm bells for the rest of us.

If Xbox One is less powerful then even Microsoft imagined, how much should we be scared?

And lets pray to god that it stops here, or the next thing we know we will be hearing a triumphant announcement from Microsoft claiming they have done it! 150k character at 720p and 30fps.